The tradition continues as the School of Communication hosts COM Week 2014. Twelve undergraduate interns have worked throughout the year to plan the event, which takes place April 14 through April 17. The four day event will be packed with 15 panels and nine keynote speakers.
In addition to the panels and speakers, there will be a two-segment career institute consisting of an education segment and a networking segment. The education segment will allow students to ask questions about resumes, portfolios and interviews. Students will have the opportunity to network with professionals, many of whom are Illinois State University SoC alumni. Students will also be recognized for their hard work at the Awards and Scholarships Luncheon.
The Documentary Film Festival Wednesday evening will showcase both student work and ISU alum Griffin Hammond’s documentary “Sriracha.”
Students will not want to miss COM Week, especially after seeing the topic and guest lineup.
Panel topics include job search and recruiters, promotions and advertising, event planning, sports communication, agency public relations, crisis communication, visual communication, entrepreneurship, and more!
COM Week will offer the following exciting keynote speakers:
· Phil Bedella, Vice President and General Manager, Comcast SportsNet Chicago
· Jennifer Thompson, Global Client Relationship Manager, Edelman
· Kevin Petschow and Steve Smith, award-winning public relations professionals in the corporate, medical and nonprofit fields
· Angelica Colantuoni, Senior Vice President, Digital, Weber Shandwick
· Alex Reside, freelance photographer, Rolling Stone and photo editor, Instyle.com
· Kasey Larson, president and co-founder, DBY Events and Invitations
· Alaina Kaczmarski and Danielle Moss, co-founders, The Everygirl
The keynotes and panels will take place Monday, April 14 through Wednesday, April 16. The Career Institute and Awards and Scholarships luncheon will wrap up COM Week 2014 on Thursday, April 17.
Mark your calendars for COM Week 2014 and check out cas.illinoisstate.edu/sites/comweek for schedule, speaker information, and more. You can also follow the event using the hashtag #COMWeek2014. See you there!
By Ali Seys
If you can't find Connor Jacobs at a coffee shop or longboarding around campus, he is probably brainstorming ideas for Colleges Against Cancer.
Tell us about yourself.
From Algonquin, Ill. with dreams of making it out to LA, I am a junior majoring in public relations, even if it takes me another four years. I love coffee, trying to eat healthy and play basketball too much. As for hobbies, you’ll find me longboarding around campus, playing guitar or doing something music-related. I am an unashamed “Game of Thrones” nerd, hoping to finish up my second reread by the time season four officially starts.
What is your role and involvement with ISU Relay for Life and ISU Colleges Against Cancer?
As President of Colleges Against Cancer, my typical day consists of meetings with our advisers, team members, American Cancer Society and groups around campus such as athletics, to brainstorm and plan for our events to promote cancer awareness, like during Breast Cancer Awareness Week and Relay for Life. Relay for Life, which takes place on the quad on Friday, April 25, is our biggest fundraising effort along with the biggest philanthropic event at ISU. Since I am in a management role, my focus is on managing our team, making sure we meet our goals and staying on task.
Why is this an important and meaningful cause for you to be a part of?
With cancer being such a widespread disease, we all have loved ones whose lives have been altered by cancer. For me, it clicked when my dad was diagnosed with leukemia my freshman year of college. His diagnosis reminded me that this disease does not discriminate, and we all can and should take action to fight back against cancer.
How has your public relations and PRSSA experiences helped you in your role for the organization?
Public relations and PRSSA has definitely made me a stronger leader and also more creative when it comes to promoting our events, especially with social media. We have gained around 175 Facebook likes this year and about 50 Twitter followers. With so many incredibly talented people in our Chapter and major, I am always learning, and I like to think a little bit of their talent has rubbed off on me.
What is your favorite part of working to end the fight against cancer, and why should more students get involved?
One reason more students should get involved with Colleges Against Cancer or any philanthropic group is for how rewarding it is. For Valentine’s Day, we donated flowers to survivors at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, and it was incredible to see how much hope flowers and some kind words can give someone, even if it just distracted them from treatment for a little while. It was truly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My favorite part about working with Colleges Against Cancer is that once we finally finish the fight against cancer, just like we have with every other major disease that has haunted this earth, I will be able to smile and I know I played a small role.
If you are interested in joining our team or making a Relay team of your own, check us out on Facebook or Twitter at ISU Colleges Against Cancer and @ISURelayForLife.
Questions composed by Lisa Crocco
I traveled to Charleston, S.C. not entirely sure what to expect but eager to experience all that PRSSA National Assembly had to offer. Little did I know that I would come home armed with more knowledge about leadership and a better understanding of the resources we have as members of PRSSA.
These resources are invaluable, but they are not used nearly enough. National Assembly certainly created more awareness for me about how beneficial they are. Here are three resources members should be using:
1. PRSSA Internship Center: Create a MyPRSA account to search for internships by employer, location, start date or keywords. Members can also upload their resume for employers to browse. Career tips on resumes, cover letters, portfolios, interviews, and more are also provided.
2. PRSA Jobcenter: Get access to thousands of job postings in the public relations, communications and marketing industries. Useful career advice and information is also available.
3. PRSA Ethics app: Download this easy-to-use app on your phone to have all the answers about PRSA ethics in your pocket. This app will be your aid when challenging issues arise. The app includes: The PRSA Member Statement of Professional Values, the PRSA Code Provisions, every Professional Standards Advisory, the PRSA Ethics Quiz, the PRSAY blog and email access to members of the Board of Professional Students.
During the leadership training workshops at National Assembly, I gleaned many wonderful tidbits of information about leadership that are very applicable for those in leadership roles.
There are four leadership traits that are underrated and deserve more consideration:
1. Decision Making
Decisions should be grounded in research and provide the key reasons why an idea will work. Decision making in the executive boards of PRSSA Chapters should always have the members in mind. Understanding the wants and needs of the members should be the foundation of every decision. Being able to stand up for decisions when facing questioning is also a needed skill. A helpful question to ask when making decisions is, “How does the decision fit into the big picture theme or goals for the society?”
“Tact is the lubricant that makes possible smooth human relations,” said the 2011-2013 PRSSA National Faculty Adviser Robert “Pritch” Pritchard.
Tact is knowing when to do or say something and when not to. Tact implies a spirit of cooperation; it is not limited to being polite. Tact is a sensitive and an intuitive appreciation for what is right. It is also an insight into the motives of others.
Part of being a courageous leader is identifying your goal and setting tangible objectives. Courageous leaders prepare and set goals for the year during meetings prior to the start of the school year. Courage also means learning to accept responsibility for projects and ideas. Lastly, courage is accepting failures and growing from them.
4. Humor and personality
In order to create a good environment for Chapter members, it is important to use humor and to show your personality as a leader. Human interaction goes a long way in retaining members because it creates relationships. To show personality and humor is to be vulnerable with Chapter members, and that creates a mutual respect.
National Assembly was truly life-changing, and I know that it helped me become a more informed leader. I am so thankful to have the opportunity to pass along this knowledge to my Chapter.
By Lily Sherer
Members of Illinois State University’s PRSSA traveled to the Windy City to tour the offices of Walker Sands and Motion PR on Friday, March 21.
Walker Sands was the first stop, where the visit was broken up into three parts. First, Christine Pietryla and ISU alumnus Andrew Cross gave an overview of the agency. Walker Sands is a technology-based agency, which offers a unique perspective compared to the previous tours this year. They deal with business-to-business (B2B) as opposed to business-to-consumer (B2C), meaning that they target businesses as opposed to promoting their clients to the general public. Pietryla and Cross provided great insight on how Walker Sands differs from other agencies.
After talking about the basics of the agency, members learned about the internship program, which Walker Sands calls “The Sandlot.” HR director Ellen Hanson spoke about what the program is like and gave some great advice on how to stand out when applying for jobs or internships. For the agency’s summer internships, Hanson reported they typically receive over 400 resumes for six to ten positions. Since Hanson sees all of Walker Sands’ internship and general applications, her advice was valuable to anyone interested in applying to an agency. Some of her tips included:
· Customize your resume to each application and rearrange the bullet points based on what the company is looking for in applicants.
· Mirror back the language of the job description and use the same terminology.
· When it comes to applications, Hanson suggests that ten quality applications will yield much better results than 100 quantity ones.
· The cover letter is a space to tell a story that isn’t on your resume but speaks to your skills and experience. Hanson gave the example of someone who was the go-to paper editor on their dorm floor. It’s not a title you can put on your resume, but it tells the recruiter or hiring manager a lot about your writing skills.
· Showing enthusiasm for the position is key, as is doing research on the company.
· If you land an interview, hiring managers are not looking for you to know everything. Instead, they want someone who shows a willingness to learn and “coachability.” The ability to be taught and take constructive criticism well is very important in this industry.
· Finally, ask good questions in interviews that demonstrate your knowledge of the company and all the research you did.
Next, members broke into small Q-and-A sessions with two Walker Sands employees to ask questions in a more personal, informal setting. It was great to have a small group discussion and to have more of a one-on-one experience. The culture of the agency was supportive and almost family-like. Members left with a wealth of information and lots of business cards.
After a quick lunch break at Corner Bakery, members walked to the Motion PR office just down the street. ISU alumnus Bruce Kennedy greeted members, along with his co-workers Erik Ansel, Derek Serafin, and one of the interns, Blair.
After introducing the employees and the agency, members were given a “How Much Do You Know About PR?” quiz. The quiz was a fun way to get members to interact with the Motion PR employees and facilitate a discussion around the answers. It offered insight on many aspects of public relations and enforced topics taught in public relations classes.
Kennedy and the rest of the team opened up for a Q-and-A session, giving great advice about the public relations world. Kennedy was able to answer questions tailored to ISU, since as a 2013 graduate, he was recently in the same shoes as the PRSSA members. The team spoke about pitching, saying that they spend the majority of their time pitching their clients. Members were able to gain insight on creating media relationships, the best way to pitch, and what to expect in the agency life. The culture was laid-back and welcoming. Motion PR team members gave out plenty of business cards and even a packet of information that included a list of every almost every public relations agency in Chicago.
Both tours were a great opportunity to see two very different public relations agencies firsthand.
Members not only gained a wealth of information about agency life and the professional world, but an invaluable opportunity to network with people in the Chicago public relations industry. Take advantage of the tours offered by ISU PRSSA whenever you can, since they are great resources to build your career!
By Lauren Vahldick
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.